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The Time Traveler's Wife

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,695,625 ratings  ·  50,338 reviews
A funny, often poignant tale of boy meets girl with a twist: what if one of them couldn't stop slipping in and out of time? Highly original and imaginative, this debut novel raises questions about life, love, and the effects of time on relationships.

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, a
ebook, Special Edition, 500 pages
Published September 23rd 2013 by Zola Books (first published July 5th 2003)
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Shelli My opinion: I don't think this book is appropriate before high school (age 14-16, depending on maturity), for the following reasons:

1) It's written fo…more
My opinion: I don't think this book is appropriate before high school (age 14-16, depending on maturity), for the following reasons:

1) It's written for adults (it is definitely not YA), which means it's long, uses pretty sophisticated language, and, given the time travel theme, has a labyrinthine plot. I would think the average middle schooler might find it too challenging to really fully follow and enjoy.

2) This book is very emotionally hard-hitting. I pretty much sobbed through the last 75 pages at age 45; I can see a tween girl being absolutely emotionally overwhelmed.

3) Most of all of the misgivings posted here revolve around sex. Argh! What about all the other "adult" topics one finds in books and movies that are not considered as traumatizing to children, but should be? Examples include cruelty, violence, dismemberment, death, miscarriage, drugs, mental illness. Now, I am not saying which of these appear so as to avoid spoilers, but several of them do,

5) And as for the sex, which I listed last not by accident or coincidence, but because it really should be the least of your worries about this book:

Look: Teenagers, if they are not already having sex, are at the very least thinking, talking, and obsessing about sex. Wouldn't you prefer they have a few non-gratuitous literary examples of couples who love and care for each other deeply to counterbalance what they're watching on PornTube?

That being said, there was one sex scene that squicked even me out, which is saying a LOT. (** MINOR SPOILER **) I was pretty disturbed by the two teenaged Henrys getting it on. I guess technically it would be, what? "Enhanced masturbation"? But it felt like incest, and it also felt unrealistic. (** END MINOR SPOILER **)

I hope adding another perspective is useful to others asking this question. (less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Dan Unnecessary, out of character, and emblematic of the problem with Gomez's character. We are told that he saves Henry over and over when he is introduc…moreUnnecessary, out of character, and emblematic of the problem with Gomez's character. We are told that he saves Henry over and over when he is introduced. Then we never see any of that, and instead get this weird obsession with Clare. (less)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  1,695,625 ratings  ·  50,338 reviews

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I'm only adding this book because it annoys me that it popped up on the "most popular reads." People, this book is terrible. Do yourself a favor and pretend you'd never heard of it.

My short answer is that it's just no good, the long version is in the following list, which I call "The Problems I Have With The Time-Traveler's Wife."

1. The author is indecisive. Rather than accepting that this is a science-fiction novel, she tries to write a social commentary, romance, and art and music novel all r
Liz S.
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
I recently read The Time-Traveler's Wife and was pretty disappointed---the author somehow manages to turn such an awesome premise (the dude actually time travels!) into something pretty flat and dull. The first hundred pages really hooked me, but after a while I started to get irritated by:

1. All the name checking of hipster-approved bands in an attempt to establish Henry's supposed "punk" cred. He liked the Violent Femmes in 1991. That's why he's so badass? Seriously?

2. The food porny descripti
Jan 18, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Why can't there be a negative star rating? I hated, hated this book. And yes, I did finish it. All way-too-many pages of it. But, in my defense it was (foolishly) the only book I brought with me when I was hospitalized for 24 hours after wisdom tooth surgery, and when your options are daytime soaps or this wretched book...well, at least I got to read the ending and conclude definitively that it wasn't worth it. Okay, now that I've gotten a bit of a rant out, let me be a little more organized abo ...more
Aug 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shan B
Mar 01, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to jump on band wagons, sheep and lemmings
Let me start this by saying I was very excited to read this book. I thought it was going to be good. It is not in any way good. It could have been good, the idea could have soared but in Niffenegger's hands it was destroyed by laundry lists of grocery bag contents, street directions, and punk bands until I even said, out loud, more than once, "okay, I get it." He bought groceries, he knows how to get around in Chicago, Clare likes to clean her studio, he is not just a punk rock poser but the rea ...more
Julie G
This is my 400th book review for Goodreads. Wow. I am either one sick or one inspired woman (or both).

Apparently when I reach my 500th review, Goodreads will put a little encouraging "button" on my profile (they might as well just give me a bookmark), but 400 feels big, too, so I wanted to review a book that I love but have never reviewed here.

The Time Traveler's Wife is a controversial novel, and when my book club discussed it, there were burning pitchforks, buckets of hot tar and glasses of P
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been putting off writing this review for days because I knew that this would be a struggle for me. There aren't enough words in the English language that could accurately convey my feelings for The Time Traveler's Wife. If you haven't read this book, I urge you to do so. You can expect a literary experience unlike one you've ever had.

What did I love most about this book? The love story. It was truly enchanting. The two protagonists, Henry and Clare were not only meant for each other, but it
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am conflicted about this book. Do not let my 4 stars fool you, they are an emotional rating.

I'll start with the things I really liked about it:

Loved all the foreshadowing. The knowing something was going to happen, and maybe even a little bit of what it was, but never knowing or understanding fully until both characters had experienced the moment. And then all the foreshadowing of the tragic end. Once I started putting the puzzle together I really couldn't put it down. And I had several moment
i hate reading books that everyone keeps bothering me to read. first there are the gushing reviews from the media, complete with intelligent sound clips:

"it's so awesome! so titillating! the way the author captures that thing where the girl says that stuff and then they go to that cool place.. you know? even oprah says so!"

and then there are the crowds of friends who carry around their freshly bought "it" book (ok, i'm bitter, i can't afford to buy new books) who can't wait to share their newf
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

It is a love story about a man (Henry DeTamble, a librarian at the Newberry Library in Chicago) with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about his wife, an artist, who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences.

Henry begins time traveling at the age of five, jumping forward and backward relative to his own timeline. When he vanishes, where he goes, and how long his trips will last are beyond his co
Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
This is one of those very few books people either seem to love or hate. I wistfully belong to the latter half.

1) The character development of Henry and Claire were deplorable, especially after they became adults.

2) The narration and the plot were too complicated to follow, mainly due to switching to multiple periods via time travel. After finishing this novel, I was exhausted like a flight attendant who had continuous work for 36 hours on different flights to different time zones without rest.

Life has approximately four perfect things in it.

One of them is Cake With Fresh Strawberries.

Another of them is Running Errands And Getting Yourself A Little Treat.

The third one is Going To A Body Of Water On A Hot Day And Swimming Until You're Very Tired And Then Air-Drying In The Sun.

And the fourth one is Time Travel Romance.

The two best rom-coms on earth (and I have seen many of them, in a misguided attempt to cure myself of emotionlessness) are About Time and Safety Not Guaranteed.

Both are
Jim Fonseca
Very unusual for me but DNF, so I did not give it a rating. It's the story of a couple in love where the man comes back at various ages before and after he initially met his wife. When that happens we get the perspective on what's going on from both him and her. I'm not a fan of romance or sci fi, so I guess the combination of the two turned me off. I always give a book at least 20 pages and this one had so many good reviews, I went back and gave it another twenty pages but just couldn't get int ...more
Jul 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"All I ask for are humble delights - a mystery novel in bed, the smell of Claire's long gold hair damp from washing, a post card from a friend on vacation, cream dispersing into coffee, the softness of the skin under Clare's breasts, the symmetry of the grocery bags waiting on the kitchen counter to be unpacked..."

"Daylight in the swamp. The birds are singing and the frogs are croaking and it's time to get up!"

Audrey Niffenegger`s The Time Traveler's Wife is a brilliant tale about, of course as
May 16, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just because something is popular does not mean it's good. Mass "taste" is often incredibly bad. Such is the case with this book, only it's not incredibly bad, just not worth the hours it takes to read it.

It seems like every fiction book I've read in the past couple of years is highly depressing, this one included. My life is full enough of it's own challenges and disappointments that I'd like to read to escape. Yes, if novels are full of heartache and struggle, they are realistic and more accur
I am not a romance reader by nature. That's not to say that I don't enjoy them from time to time, but I just don't usually gravitate toward romance. And to be completely honest, I had absolutely zero intention of reading this book, ever. But then it was chosen as my October Bookclub book, so my intentions just became irrelevant.

So, now that I've read it... Umm... Well. I think that this book did have an interesting premise, and in another author's hands, could have been fantastic. But most of t
Claire Greene
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heidi The Reader
Jan 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
A big no thank you to The Time Traveler's Wife. To the legions of fans of this book, I'd like to know what you enjoyed about it. What did I miss? I see that it's won a pile of awards- I feel like I completely missed something and I would like to understand your point of view.

I thought I was in for a sweet romance but all I got was a time traveler who cheated at the lottery, beat people up for clothes, and engaged in sexual hijinks with time traveling versions of himself.

I was completely creeped
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore this book. I love it with all my heart. The first few pages were a delight, a surprise, and from then on it was a sweet love affair. I wanted both to have read the book all at once and also to have it all yet unread so I could savor it. I simply didn't want it to end.

The story is about two people, the time traveler and his wife. On the surface, they are like any two people who love each other in modern times, except for the fact that he travels through time. You'd think that fact would m
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If I had to define "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger in two words they would be: poignant and excessive—two words that also illustrate my mixed feelings about Niffenegger’s first novel.

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” is about many things. Obviously time travel is an important feature, but this novel is also about librarians, artists, punk rock, and alcoholics. It’s also about love.

Henry meets his wife, Clare, for the first time when he is 28 and Clare is 20. Clare met Henry for the fir
Aug 31, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i feel there is a special circle of hell reserved for authors who make a fortune by blatantly ripping off better--but less mainstream--authors from the past and passing the ideas off as their own. I therefore will not review this book but instead re-direct the curious to a 1976 novel called Kindred by Octavia Butler, ostensibly a sci-fi novel but in fact a lean, precise and totally imaginative book for any alert reader.

Avoid bloat, trashiness, sexism, predictability and slowness: don't read thi
Nilufer Ozmekik
Apr 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing
When I heard that HBO finally adapted this amazing book into limited series, I couldn’t get more excited! The trailer was also promising! Casting choices are not marvelous but I still hold my hopes high!

This masterpiece may be one of my favorite reads I never get bored to reread over and over! It’s marvelous sci-if, intriguing action packed mystery and of course tear jerker, extremely emotional love story!

Henry DeTamble, a librarian from Chicago has a genetic disorder force him move back and
Kat Kennedy
I almost feel that the author wrote this book in two halves. The first half she wrote while at the pique of her ability and enthusiasm. The second half she wrote while on some very impressive anti-depressants.

The first half of this book is sweet, wistful, beautiful and touching.

The second half of this book is heart breaking, depressing and sloppily written.

I finished this book wondering what the hell I'd actually gotten out of it. My not-so-startling conclusion was: nothing.

When I read a book,
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recent
For whatever reason, when I stared reading The Time Taveler’s Wife, I was in possession of two copies. I opted to leave a copy at work and the other at home and I read at least a few pages everyday. This meant that each time I picked up the book I was slightly lost, and wondering were I was, while I searched to find my place within the pages. One copy was older and more worn than the other, with writing in the margins and creased corners. The other book was brand new and living in the present.

Jul 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating this was really hard, because I really liked it (really, really liked it) but I have such qualms with the ending, which could very possibly be a testament to Niffenegger's writing, I'm not sure. Anyway.

There were several things I wanted to talk about while I was reading it, more or less having to do with the notion of time-travel in the book. Obviously, there's always the immediate connection between Henry DeTamble and Billy Pilgrim, both of which are unstuck in time, Henry because of a b
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-fiction
3 stars to Audrey Niffenegger's novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, published in 2003 and later made into a movie. This one is a hard book for me to rate. There was so many great things in it, but there was also a lot that made me step away and think about how it all happened...

A young couple are constantly ravaged by the husband's ability to move between time periods, but rarely in a controlled way. They are stuck in a haphazard relationship, never knowing when he may just disa
Maggie Stiefvater
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people looking for love stories but not romances.
Recommended to Maggie by: Helene Keough
Shelves: recommended
What I love about THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE is that Niffenegger absolutely nails the relationship between Henry and Claire. For all the book's faults (in particular a draggy middle), I haven't read a book yet with such chemistry between the two main characters. Add to that Niffenegger's beautiful use of language and dry sense of humor and this is a book I keep going back to.

***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Cons
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There’s a reason I hate Oprah’s Book Club, and the reason is that I think she does a disservice to the millions of American women who adore her by recommending terrible books. Oprah’s problem is that rather than directing her legions of fans to classic books (or ones destined to become classics) with complex plots and fine writing, she directs them instead to crap like The Notebook. The Notebook and The Time Traveler’s Wife belong to the same genre – you’ve heard the term “chick flick”? These tw ...more
J.L.   Sutton
Jun 29, 2020 rated it liked it
"Obviously she knows me, and I don't know her...The girl sort of breathes "Henry!" in this very evocative way that convinces me that at some point in time we have a really amazing thing together. This makes it worse that I don't know anything about her, not even her name."

BBC Radio 4 - Bookclub, Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveler's Wife

There was plenty to like in Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife beginning with the concept of Henry slipping in and out of time to meet his wife (or wife to be, Clare) at seemingly random points in her life. The beha
Tatevik is on semi hiatus (trying to finish PHD)
I had a very important event to attend today. I couldn't postpone it. So I was getting ready and reading at the same time. I was absorbing every word, while the last several pages were getting wet with my tears and drops from my damp hair.
Now I am sitting and drinking wine. Some good music is playing. I am just sitting with the glass in my hand wrapped in these strange emotions.
This book was awesomely heartbreaking.
I had a bad feeling from the cover and from the title that I would like this book
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Challenge Corner: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger -> Starting July 3rd, 2022 9 9 Jul 18, 2022 10:11AM  
Scene in Henry's bedroom with himself naked 12 833 Jun 29, 2022 08:18PM  
Book Club+ MPC: New HBO Series-The Time Traveler's Wife 3 21 May 31, 2022 07:06AM  
How did you feel about Gomez? 42 818 Mar 16, 2022 11:58AM  
Portrait as a gift 2 9 Sep 22, 2021 12:04PM  

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Audrey Niffenegger (born June 13, 1963 in South Haven, Michigan) is a writer and artist. She is also a professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Columbia College Chicago.

Niffenegger's debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife (2003), was a national bestseller. The Time Traveler's Wife is an unconventional love story that centers on a man with a strange genetic disorder that causes him to unpre

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